October 20, 2014

my weekly to-dos...

weekly to-do list | yourwishcake.com
How is it already Monday again? I don't even know. This past week has flown by, and I feel like I was just writing the intro for last week's to-do post. In short, last week was just fine and dandy! We had a few unexpected things that came up (one being Jay's car dying on the freeway as he headed to work on Thursday, which was an adventure) but all-in-all, it was filled with good things.

I was able to get a whole bunch of organizing done this week, and ended up taking 8 bags of clothes/toys/books/miscellany to Goodwill over the weekend. Is there anything more freeing than a Goodwill run? I tell you, there's nothing quite like it.

I think I may be an Autumn Cleaning sort-of-a-gal (as opposed to Spring Cleaning). This time of year, I always get the urge to simplify and deep-clean and declutter… 

Well, here's a look at last week's to-do list and my list for the week ahead:

This week's goals:

Marriage, Motherhood & Home Life
 — Pare down our book collection
 — Reorganize Eisley's wardrobe
 — Begin week 3 of 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

 — Drink 40 oz. of water every day
 — Learn something new (I'm grateful for my weekly podcast list, because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to cross this one off!)
 — Finish reading one book (I read two! How is this real life?)
 — Complete daily devotions (ended up sleeping in a few days this week and put off my morning routine)

Creativity & Blogging
 — Complete one seasonal decor project
 — Create spreadsheet for monthly income

 — Goodwill run

Here is a closer look at last week in my world:

Best guacamole! | yourwishcake.com
I've decided to take some extra time every Sunday afternoon to prep snacks and a few meal elements for the week ahead. This week I made a bowl of my favorite guacamole of all time, prepared a bag of black beans (some for the fridge and some to freeze), peeled and sliced carrots to snack on, boiled and peeled some eggs, and then poured myself a margarita. (The margarita was a necessity, people.) Next week I want to bake some homemade bread and make another dip I've never tried before!

photo 3
THIS CLOSET. This is my Monica closet. (If you aren't an obsessive Friends fan, watch this.) I was going to show you a before photo of the inside, but decided not to share the madness with the internet—so instead you get to see the outside of the door, complete with a pretty bag and scarf. However, the reason I'm sharing this is because as of last week, this closet is now completely organized and even has a small patch of space on the floor showing. Miracle of miracles! I have been putting it off for ages and ages, because how easy is it just to throw everything into a closet and shut the door? Too easy. But last week, I conquered my Monica closet, and I want to encourage you to do the same. (Please tell me you have one. Or at least a junk drawer that give you stress hives whenever you open it.)

Disney day | yourwishcake.com
Eisley is basically now a teenage, and I'm not sure how to handle this business. Also, I need to get a handle on trimming her bangs, but it's just so dang hard. Whyyyy.

Disney day | yourwishcake.com
We enjoyed a Disney day with a sweet friend and her daughter on Friday, which was just perfect. I love taking photos of Eisley in the same places I had my photo taken as a young girl. I need to dive into my mom's photo albums next time I see her, so I can get some side-by-sides!

This week's goals:

Marriage, Motherhood & Home Life
 — Food prep Sunday (prepare homemade and/or healthy snacks and some meal elements for the week ahead)
 — At-home movie night with Jay
 — Take Eisley somewhere new
 — Begin week 4 of 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

 — Finish reading one book
 — Complete daily devotions (currently using Jesus Calling and The Message: Solo, New Testament)

Creativity & Blogging
 — Post one DIY project
 — Gather items for Etsy sale
 — Create spreadsheet for monthly income

 — Send one piece of snail mail

Happy Monday-ing, folks!

Affiliate links included in this post. Yep, yep.

October 17, 2014

who I am (at the moment)...

I am…

…feeling the urge to chop my hair. Nothing too drastic—but it's getting to the point where I dread drying it and curling it and all of those shenanigans. I don't think I realize how long it is (finally reaching my lower back!) until I catch myself in the mirror or feel it brushing my elbows. I love my long hair, but I feel like it's time for a change. I'm thinking something slightly longer than this. Thoughts?

…praying for another baby.

…so grateful for this long-awaited autumn weather. Low 70s, the perfect breeze, chilly evenings. This is my happy place. Now, will someone please hand me an adorable scarf to wear? Thank you very much.

…currently reading Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch, and it's been so nice to have a book that makes me laugh out loud in the most satisfyingly awkward way. I didn't know anything about her personal life before reading this book, and she seems so down-to-earth. Plus, I'm always a fan of self-depreciating humor, which makes me love the writer even more. (Please note there is a bit of, shall we say, language in this book—just a fair warning! I'm usually put-off by this sort of thing, but it's not distracting in this book, so it wasn't an issue for me.)

…binge-watching the latest season of Bones on Netflix. This is the time of year a bunch of new seasons for my favorite shows are finally available to stream, and this was second on my list after New Girl (which, by the way, was absolutely amazing). After Bones, it's on to the final season of How I Met Your Mother! (We'll see how long it takes me to get through my entire list…my TV time is quite limited as of late. Oh, to be 19 again!)

…focusing much more on the big picture things these days—hopes, dreams, goals. But also doing my best to fill my days with little things that will make them a reality.

…trying to rearrange things all over the duplex, but I keep running into trouble. Most of it has to do with having too much stuff. I really, really want to let go of so much of the clutter and am hoping that by the end of the year we will have a bit more storage space and even a small spot on the bookshelf for a new book (or two). Right now every closet and shelf and cupboard feels like it's overflowing, and it is stressing me the heck out.

…in the mood to visit an orchard (especially the ones from my childhood), to buy a pair of expensive leather boots (I think we all know this is not going to happen), and to go on a weekend trip all by myself (which is something I've wanted to do for a long time).

…so glad we splurged on Disneyland passes earlier this year. We don't typically throw down the money for something like that, but I must say this has been completely and utterly worth it. Eisley and I have been trying to go once a week (especially now that the weather has cooled off) and we go as a family together at least once a month. The memories we're making together are pretty darn incredible. How lucky are we?

…loving the unexpected things that have come our way this past week. Two checks (one with extra dividends from the financial company we work with, the other a rebate check from good ol' Costco!), a generous mechanic who didn't charge us a penny to look at Jay's car for more than two hours (after it overheated on the freeway, they couldn't find anything wrong), and all the friendly strangers that have made my day—over and over again.

Further reading: Who I Was Last Year and Two Years Ago

October 15, 2014

things I quit (with no regrets)...

4 things I've happily quit (and lived to tell the tale) | yourwishcake.com
Somewhere around four years ago, I quit Facebook. I wrote about my initial thoughts a few years ago, and at this point my feelings over the whole thing remain rather unchanged. Which surprises me a little bit. There are times I definitely feel like the only human being without a Facebook (especially in this particular age-range, and with my being someone who does a fair amount of internetting). But overall, it's just not a big deal. And it's been a huge benefit to my entire mindset and the whole comparison game that most of us play on a day-to-day basis. 

Although I continue to browse social media at some point each day, there was something about Facebook that just felt like more of a trigger for all my ugliest feelings.

Of the few things I've given up over the past several years, this one ended up being the easiest—even though I thought it would be much harder than it was. I think a lot of it was the whole anticipation. I kept going back and forth, wondering what I'd be missing out on, whether it would be the worst idea to not have a Facebook page for my blog, why I couldn't just figure out how to control my reactions to things I saw in order to enjoy what so many other people were obviously enjoying. But I'm glad I followed my gut and did what I had to do for my own peace of mind.

Granted, before I go any further, I must admit that I do technically still have a rather boring and intentionally-friendless Facebook page that I use to sign into for coupons or apps that I don't want bugging me on the regular. So, I'm not completely Facebook-free…but I just get to feel smug when I use it for my own needs and refuse to give it any further information (or spend an hour looking at status updates that make me stabby or jealous or wildly dissatisfied with my hair/home/husband/shoe selection/lack of babies/etc.).

Aside from saying farewell to Facebook, there are a few other notable things I've quit in the past few years (and have lived to tell the tale):

Fancy TV
I think it's been a little over a year now since we ditched the expensive satellite and have survived on Netflix and our digital antenna (here's the one we have). If you had asked me even five years ago if we'd ever give up all those channels, both my husband and I would have said something to the effect of, "Give up TLC reality shows and ESPN? Have you gone mad?" (I'm thinking it's fairly obvious which of us is still mourning the loss of Sister Wives.) I don't even remember what led us to finally making the decision, because I think we surprised ourselves by even agreeing to it. But once it was gone, it made us realize how much mindless channel-surfing we actually did, and how few channels we actually watched on a regular basis.

At this point, Jay still gets plenty of football for free on regular network channels (in HD, even!) with our digital antenna. I binge-watch shows on Netflix and have another reason to bust out my reliable Friends DVDs in the evening. But I love that we don't automatically have the TV on every evening after dinner like we used to. And whenever we do watch TV, I almost can't handle it because man, the commercials. I so rarely watch anything on a network, that when I do I'm like, "Could there be any more ads for pharmaceuticals? For the love."

The verdict: I could never completely get rid of the TV (and I love my Netflix), but I don't see us ever paying for fancy TV (be it cable or satellite) again.

The Scale
I've weighed myself maybe a handful of times in the past year. The batteries went out on our scale ages ago, and I purposely didn't replace them. Instead, I shoved the scale under the bed as far as I could and never looked back. And you know what? Not keeping that scale on the bathroom floor has been one of the best things I've ever done for my body image, hands down.

I know this isn't the case for every woman, but I know of many people who are of the same mindset as I've always been. If the scale is there in front of me, I'm going to use it. And I'll let that number dictate how I feel about myself. I can't tell you how many times I'd be having an awesome week, making healthy choices and feeling all easy-breezy in my favorite jeans. All it would take would be stepping on the scale, realizing it did not reflect what I thought it should, and I'd be back to tearing myself down.

At this point in life, I'm just going to let myself have that awesome week. If I'm feeling great and taking care of myself, then I'll leave it at that. I'm going to let myself enjoy it. I'm done with the number game.

There have been a few times I've used our Wii Fit again to get back into a routine (you can weigh yourself to keep track of progress) but I always feel myself slipping back into old habits and thought patterns, so I know when I need to step away and clear my head.

These days, I have a general idea of how much I weigh, and for the first time in my adult life, I've spent my time focusing on overall health and creating lasting habits, instead of hoping and praying for a smaller number on the scale every morning.

The verdict: I struggled with body image for so many years, that sometimes my lack of interest in the scale almost surprises me. But I'm so glad this is where I've finally arrived.

Okay, okay, so I still technically eat meat. I actually love meat. Meat is still my jam, in many ways. I mean, the other day I had a tiniest sample of pot roast at Costco and made borderline inappropriate noises for longer than was socially acceptable. But, still…making the decision to not buy meat to have at home a few years ago was kind of a huge deal.

It was definitely my husband's idea (and I'm still not exactly sure where it came from) but the more I thought about it, the more I was okay with it. Again, if you'd asked us five years ago if we'd ever go almost exclusively vegetarian, we would have both openly mocked the very idea. I know we were those people who couldn't imagine even doing one meat-free dinner a week, yet somehow we're now easily managing 7 days a week (unless we eat out, because if I'm paying money for something, I'm going for the meat—I'm no hero!).

Our mostly-veggie lifestyle started out as more of an experiment, and more to do with saving money and finding healthier ways to get protein (especially because we can't afford organic-everything). But at this point, I also like the idea that we have reduced our meat consumption rather significantly.

The verdict: We still eat seafood, eggs and dairy at home (and at least once a year I buy a packet of pepperoni or lunchmeat due to a craving of some sort), but we used to eat a ton of cheap chicken breasts and ground beef. I'm glad I forced myself to do things a little differently—a challenge I'm surprisingly grateful for, at this point in life!

Is there anything you've (happily) quit recently? Have you ditched your cable bill or scale? Am I the only thirty-year-old woman without a Facebook page? Will you invite me over for dinner and grill me up a steak in a moment of meat-craving weakness? Please share!

— Further reading: Things I Never Thought I'd Do

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